Friday, January 14, 2011

Pastor/Journalist in Palestine

Some years back I met Wayne Smith, a pastor at Praise Covenant Church in Tacoma, Washington, through my wife. I took an instant liking to him for his sincerity, candor and clarity of spirit.

Last December he and his wife, Ruth, embarked on a four-month mission to the West Bank. Wayne has been blogging as a witness and a journalist there.

I strongly recommend visiting his blog site. His reporting is rock-solid, eye-witness journalism. Often he takes the reader right down to ground level, as he did in his short essay about boundary stones as ominous Israeli warnings, as affronts to Palestinian pride and as telling historical markers referenced in the Bible.

I don't say this lightly when I suggest that Wayne Smith's reporting reminds me of George Orwell's essays describing the wounds of injustice and tyranny in British-ruled India, Burma and Fascist Spain.

In his classic essay "Why I write," Orwell noted the primacy of political purpose to his writing. When he lacked such purpose, he admitted to writing "lifeless" prose.

Wayne's prose is palpably driven with purpose — spiritual and, inevitably, political.

Lifeless it is not.

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